Japanese Sake and Brewery | Japan Travel (Japan National Tourism Organization)


Tasting locally brewed sake is a treat when traveling in Japan

Made mostly of rice and water, sake is the national drink of Japan.

There are sake breweries all over Japan, many of which use local ingredients. Some (but not all) sake breweries are open to tourists, so why not visit them while traveling?

Enjoy various alcoholic beverages in Japan

Selected liquors proud of Japan. Sake, beer, and whiskey are especially famous, as are plum wine liqueur, gin, wine, and more.

All of these drinks, you can enjoy at an izakaya. Izakayas or Japanese taverns serve a variety of food that you can enjoy with a drink. They’ll be soaking up the alcohol while you’re soaking up the buzz.

Or, if you want to enjoy a drink in the comfort of a hotel or outdoors, you can also buy drinks from sake bars (sake bars), supermarkets, or even convenience stores.

Japan’s most famous alcohol is sake

Without a doubt, the most famous Japanese alcohol is called sake abroad. Its Japanese name is nihonshu, where “nihon” means Japan. Sake has such deep historical and cultural ties that Japan lives up to its name.

Sake is often described as rice wine because of its similar alcohol content and can also be paired with food. As with wine, the right sake pairing will bring out the flavors of Japanese cuisine.

Sake is brewed all over Japan, and each region has its own unique local sake

The raw materials used to brew sake are specially made rice, water and koji. The taste of sake reflects the subtleties of its natural ingredients, so freshness and quality are paramount.

Sake is brewed in a complex process called multiple parallel fermentations, in which rice starch is reduced to glucose, which is then fermented simultaneously into alcohol in the same tank. This brewing process requires the utmost attention to detail, and it is this care that gives alcohol made from such simple ingredients its unique flavor and aroma.

Sake falls into three broad categories, depending on how well the rice is polished and the alcohol added during production. Junmai sake is unique in that it is made without the addition of alcohol. The rice used to make honzo sake is polished to a 70% ratio, which means the grains are reduced to 70% of their original size. This is one of the most imperfect ratios. Ginjo-shu has a polishing rate of 60%, making it more thoroughly polished. Each category has its own unique flavor and aroma.

Another type of sake is “pure sake,” which is made by pressing moromi. Previously, it could only be tasted at sake breweries, but now it is sold in bottles. Sparkling sake that is perfect for summer drinking, with an alcohol content of about 8% and a champagne-like taste.

Sake is brewed all over Japan. Historic small and medium-sized breweries dot the countryside, brewing their own jishu (handcrafted sake) in small batches – rich local treasures.

wine vessel

Sake is traditionally drunk from small cups called ochoko and decanted from decanters called tokkuri. It can also be drunk from a wooden square measuring rice box called a masu. Some bars and izakayas serve sake, which is poured until it overflows the glass into the masu below to show that you didn’t get a full glass – your glass overflowed!

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It’s a pleasure to come across local wine while traveling

When visiting Japan, don’t miss out on local sake. Many sakes are only available near their sake breweries, so discovering locally brewed sake is a treat for travelers, guaranteeing a unique taste experience.

Sake pairs differently with sushi or meat dishes, so feel free to ask the sake brewer or chef what pairings they recommend. It’s also a great question to start a conversation with the locals, connecting over local sake and local food.


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